Plastic bag ban bill pulled from Ulster County Legislature’s agenda

(Photo by Julie O’Connor)

The County Legislature on Tuesday delayed its vote on the proposed “Bring Your Own Bag Act,” which would ban plastic shopping bags for most applications in the county. Legislators decided at the last minute to conduct a State Environmental Quality Review Act environmental impact assessment for the legislation. That will add an extra month to the process, according to the bill’s sponsor, Legislator Tracey Bartels.

“It’s questionable whether or not it’s needed but I feel like I want to cover all bases,” said Bartels, D-Gardiner. “We sent it back to committee and I’ll be filing with the clerk the findings of the Environmental Committee over three years and hand it over to SEQR. We’ve analyzed and looked at [similar] legislation across the nation.”

Rather than taxing plastic bags, the law would ban them outright; in May, Bartels said that the Legislation’s Environment and Energy Committee’s research of bans enacted elsewhere showed prohibition was more effective at reducing plastic waste.


Should the bill become law, business owners will be given ample time between the passing of the local law and the implementation date, eyed for Earth Day 2019, to phase out their currently stocked plastic bags. Fines for violating the law would range from a $100 fine on the first offense to a $500 fine on the third and subsequent offense.

There are 3 comments

  1. Cost more

    Of course there should be a Full Environmental Assessement Completed to account for the additional cost that will be passed onto all the taxpayers of ulster county and the tourist too. Just another indirect tax increase by Mike Heines.

  2. JP

    Bartles left business owners in a lurch when she promised to help find an alternative to take out containers. She promised to help, had the law changed to ban styrofoam, and then never got back with the help she promised. All business owners are not fans of Bartells. A lot of takeout customers aren’t either. . Business owners were then threatened once the law got changed that if they didn’t switch, business owners would start receiving $500/day penalties. Bartles offers promises, but doesn’t come through. Now she says ban plastic bags, just carry your own bags to Lowes, Walmart, Hannaford, and everywhere else. Some will, most won’t! So now more paper bags will get used. More trees destroyed as paper bags escalate in use! The problem is Tracey doesn’t realize for every action, there’s a reaction. How about a major recycling for plastic bags?

    1. FunkieGunkie

      Trees are a renewable resource because they can grow back. So don’t get bent over using paper bags. Plastic bags use petroleum which is one of the reasons we are in the Middle East killing people. Plastic doesn’t break down and comes from a fossil fuel resource. It’s also polluting the oceans and killing marine life faster then the fishing industry. Pick your battles wisely.

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